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Victor Von Psychotron -
Subject: Odd, yet fun
The scene of the meek girl becoming popular thanks to badminton is my favorite.
Subject: "Nervous Tension"
Well well, the mid 20th century codeword for horniness.
Maybe has a more specific significance for Hal. Wearing ballet slippers, engaging in touchie feelie gymnastic activities, all in front of a mincing little gym teacher with a body right out of Mans World...well. I guess they DID feel compelled to "go there" in an occasional film so as to make sure nobody felt left out.
As for the girls? They want to be cheerleaders of course, so they can flaunt themselves at every game. Nothing unique there.
This film is based on dubious "facts" but is interesting in that its recipe of suggestions closely parallels those usually seen in movies on getting over TB or flat feet. I guess fresh air and keeping good hours works for other things too. Follows health film formula of the day very closely.
Subject: Exercising to Fit In
A look at Ernie, Jean and Hal, three troubled teenagers who relieve their "nervous tension" through exercise in yet another didactic Coronet film. Ernie's problem is that he has poor health and is always catching colds. Doing stomach crunches and something called "trunk stretches" help put him back on track. Jean lacks self-confidence and is "lethargic and awkward." She joins in a friendly game of tennis and becomes filled with "poise and confidence" as well as "social contact and friends." Hal is a "bookworm, nervous and irritable." He reads about the value of exercise in one of his books and is inspired to start an acrobatics club. The film constantly mentions the value of exercise as a way of relieving what it calls "nervous" or "emotional tension," a euphemism for sexual feelings. The teenagers we see in the school gym stick to same-sex groups, which does give the film a slight homo-erotic cast. I was reminded of some of the scenes of Hitler's youth doing their hygienic routines in Reifenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." Hal, Jean and Ernie all give up some individuality when they participate in the mechanized drills in the school gym. In this film, the mindless conformity of group exercise becomes a metaphor for the equally mindless conformity of American culture in the fifties.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: Release Nervous Tension by Vigorously Msting This Film
Dorky Coronet film that tells the stories of three teenagers who joined the acrobatics club at school for various reasons. Ernie was sickly and illness-prone until his doctor ordered him to get regular exercise. This segment is highly mstable as Ernie has a stereotyped gay way about him, and he suffers from a much more serious illness that is unspecified but seems to involve strange movements under the covers of his bed when he should be sleeping. Jean is shy and awkward until she learns to play badminton and then becomes a girl jock. Hal was a bookworm who studied too much, and we all know that leads to terminal nerdiness, which he somehow avoids by learning to do complicated and bizarre tumbling routines. The exercises demonstrated are amusing as well. This is one to have fun with at your next msting party.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Subject: Very strange.
I don't say that about all the videos here, but this one was particularily bizarre in it's claims of exercise = a better way of life. Shows 3 case examples: A sick boy who learns to exercise to get well, a shy introverted girl who joins sports to become more popular and a studious geek who joins to release nervous tension. All this is framed around the most bizarre exercise demonstration ever. Somewhat homoerotic as well.